Sunday, 22 April 2012
Murder at the Gallop
....I came away dissatisfied.
It's simply this. "The Duchess of Malfi", is a gem of literature encased in a dog of a play. As a poem, in places it is unsurpassed. As a play it is completely all over the place.
It seems to me that Webster is only interested in the scene leading up to the murder of the duchess and the death itself. The intensity in those scenes are almost unbearable. In the play we saw, her murder was particularly effective. Quite shocking in its violence and intensity. Webster should have left it there.
There was no need to spend what seemed an over long evening tying up the loose ends - killing off the cast Hamlet like - since there was really no structure to the play. What is Bosola doing - what motivates him? It's clear what rocks the Duchess's brother - his unnatural carnal desire for her - and at a pinch that is an acceptable motive. But why did the Duchess flaunt her unmarried mum status so obviously? Three bastards on and only then does the brother act. As for the Cardinal brother - well what would you expect from an Italian Catholic - lots of bonking and murder!
Eve Best makes a good fist of the part of the Duchess but her manner is far too modern. You'd be happy to see her as the strong female lead in, say, "Prime Suspect". She just couldn't get to the rhythm of the verse.
No it's a great piece of literature; some of the theatricals and drama are really very good. But a great play - not really. Still I'll see it again and again.
My theatre going was a bit like my appointment at the hospital last week with the specialist nurse. Full of anticipation, nerves and a bugger to park.
I turned up on time and sat around for 10 mins. The time I spent usefully checking my symptoms and prognosis in the journal "Psoriasis Monthly Digest". I have a subscription in the post as I will receive a plaque with the first magazine to go with the ones on my knees and elbows.
Nurse Nora, invited me into her parlour where I was introduced to a young 4th year intern. He looked remarkably healthy, and we discussed his finals which were due in the summer. While he and I were chatting Nurse Nora brought up the scan of my liver, and a list of readings.
"Your liver's OK as is your spleen, pancreas, gall bladder and prostate." This did surprise me since I hadn't realised so many organs were living cheek by jowl. But it was nice to know that they were all getting on well with each other and there were no boundary issues. "Your liver readings are fine as is your cholesterol" That was good news since bad fat has been a problem for a few years now; but all seems to be working out nicely now. "Oh no, I'm looking at the wrong chart" said Nurse Nora ruining the moment.
Apparently my readings, once she found them, weren't as hunky dory as we'd first surmised. A couple of the usual suspects were a little liverish and on the high side.
"But nothing to worry about - except I'd drink only at weekends if I were you. You know binge drink!" With that she handed me a load of blood sample bags and another appointment for 6 months.
I went off for another blood test and happily Nurse Nora phoned me this Friday just gone to say the result were "A OK" - I daren't ask her if she had the right patient this time.